Makers of two green technologies—hydrogen fuel cells and plug-in electric hybrids—are racing to become the alternative energy of choice for buyers thinking beyond gasoline.
They are competing for public attention, space on manufacturer’s production lines, and federal support, reports the Los Angeles Times. Electric cars,like Toyota’s popular Prius, make use of existing batteries and use a small amount of fossil fuel. More complex hydrogen cells emit only water.
"Hydrogen is too expensive, and it's extremely difficult to store,” says an electricity fan. But even Toyota, despite the success of the Prius, is investing in fuel cells, possibly because the US Energy Department budgeted nearly four times as much for fuel cell research as for electrics. Both technologies need work, says a California official: "We're not picking winners right now."